Like your game collection? Keep your discs all mint? Well, fortunately or unfortunately, you won't have to worry about that in the future.

THQ CEO Brian Farrell told GamesIndustry.biz that sooner or later, hardware manufacturers will abandon physical game media.

Instead, they'll use cloud computing; not ironically, Farrell was talking at this week's Cloud Gaming USA Conference. He says the disappearance of discs will save money throughout the industry; the hardware would be cheaper, and developers and publishers could entirely avoid the cost of producing, packaging and shipping. Now, the industry is shifting to a "games-as-a-service model where direct consumer feedback allows the ability to operate in this always on, always connected environment."

Still, he did admit that content matters most to consumers; how they get that content isn't quite as crucial. Finished Farrell:

"Technology alone will not give a clear benefit to the consumer. Cloud computing and data storage could potentially do a lot, but it's what we do with it as game designers and publishers that really matters most."

Yeah, well, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I want a tangible collection that I can see and touch. I don't want a bunch of digital files on a machine. Call me a dinosaur but that ain't a collection.

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Douchebaguette
Douchebaguette
9 years ago

With the amount of full AAA downloadable titles appearing recently I can see that happening…however perhaps not with Sony; they're still nurturing Blu-ray.

Akuma_
Akuma_
9 years ago

No way, I am sorry, but DD will not happen anytime soon.

There are pros, but there are massive cons too.

It MAY save money in the industry, but it will deffinately raise costs on Sony's end too, they already dont make any money for the first 3 years of releasing a console.

wenezz
wenezz
9 years ago

i started my collection a few weeks ago. and wow how it makes me feel when i come home and see them lined up so neatly.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

its nice to feel you actually OWN them, you can't get that with digital.

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

That's cause you don't really own it. Not really. 😛

Stabs88
Stabs88
9 years ago

When you think about it being all digital, does that mean the price goes down for us as customers? I mean as of now we are paying $60 for a game in the store AND also for download. Does that make any sence?? I don't want publishers to charge me $60 for a game i dont really "have" (means in my hands) I know the day is coming where that will happen for everything…just how we are evolving, not that i like it. I think we are fine with what we have as it is. Why go farther? I mean i know why but….cant things just stay still for a while?? I like the now

dmiitrie
dmiitrie
9 years ago

@Stabbs: For me, and I'm willing to guess that a LOT of people feel similar, it makes perfect sense. When I buy a game, I'm paying for the ability to play that game. Having a thing you can hold does not, in any tangible way, alter the experience of actually playing the game. And while I understand that all the stuff that comes with having a hard copy can increase the enjoyment if a game for certain people, the primary purpose of a game remains the gameplay.

That being said though, while I prefer to download my games, I'm against taking options away from people. If people really want that disk, and I know that many do, they should be able to have it.

iwillbetheone
iwillbetheone
9 years ago

That won't happen for at least another 10 years. That's the minimum time needed for great quality internet to be available cheaply everywhere in the world. But if it does happen, what will become of the hundreds of games that people have collected till now?

Cpt_Geez
Cpt_Geez
9 years ago

Im with you John I rather have physical media.

PasteNuggs
PasteNuggs
9 years ago

I wish the industry wasn't headed in this direction. I like that I can go and look at my collection all neatly organized on my shelves.

Fox hounder
Fox hounder
9 years ago

Well THQ CEO, if cloud gaming is such a great money saving idea, why not make games exclusively for OnLive? show the other third party publishers how its done, and be the first one to take that big step. Seriously though, it always seems like its the CEO's or the publisher bosses that are wanting cloud gaming, you don't hear too many developers asking for it. There should always be an option for physical media, a one size fit's all doesn't do anybody any good.


Last edited by Fox hounder on 9/9/2011 10:29:06 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

yup, CEOs want to cut the cost of physical media. Developers are gamers so they aren't as blind to the benefits.

dmiitrie
dmiitrie
9 years ago

@World: I'm assuming that you're speaking of the benefits of physical media, correct? So, what would those benefits be? Because every one I can think of has to do with secondary or tertiary aspects of gaming (ie. Reading a manual, reselling / giving / lending games, looking at your collection on your shelf).

DazeOfWar
DazeOfWar
9 years ago

I'm with you John. I love seeing my collection of games sitting on my shelf. Hell I sometimes forget what games I have and it's like Christmas all the time. I do not want a cloud base service.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Sure we have the technology to begin that, but connectivity isn't up to speed yet. Not enough people are connected to high speeds that make that easy.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

A network failure would disable 100% of gamers in that situation. After experiencing the PSN outage, who really wants to have *all* of their gaming dependent on a single point of failure?

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

Yhea, that is the issue Highlander… hell of a risk to take come to think about it. To not be able to play games due to some network failure or other is a huge issue and one that cannot be easily overcome if gaming was an all-in-one service based model.

Surely the industry can understand this?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

"who really wants to have *all* of their gaming dependent on a single point of failure? "

Ask Ben. He was without power for a while. Even them disks won't spin by themselves 😉

BigD0207
BigD0207
9 years ago

I agree with TheHighlander, if their network goes down or even if your ISP goes down that would disable 100% of your games. Also I prefer the physical media as well. When my PS3 went down and I had to restore my digital information that I had and it took me a couple days to do that task. I prefer the physical media as my backup. Also the other thing that concerns me about going all digital is that some ISP are starting to set limits on how much data that you can streamdownload. You could use that limit up real quick by streaming movies and if you had to download games that are the size of Metal Gear Solid 4, if I remember correctly Metal Gear was 50 GB.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

Sorry Highlander, but I would have to disagree with you there.

If games use the PSN or Xbox Live method of digital distribution, then a network failure shouldn't affect access to the game at all if you have already downloaded and installed it. It's already there on the hard drive, so even if the network is down, you can still play it. Only thing holding it back is download caps and price of digital content often being more than what some stores sell the disc for.

I believe digital distribution, if done the same way as PSN or Live, is actually better than physical media! Sure, a library of games would be great, but what happens if they are stolen? What happens if your house burns down or gets washed away in a flood? The games are gone and so are thousands of dollars you spent building that collection. With digital, if that were to happen, you get a new computer, reinstall steam or whatever DL service you prefer, log back in and Re-download the games you want to play one by one, no need to spend more money getting your games back.

I'm hoping game streaming doesn't become a reality, like OnLive, because a network failure on that model would disable all gamers. Downloading games, however, is a better model because YOU still own the game, but it is just stored on a hard drive instead of a disc.

Simply look at music. Would you rather have a massive pile of CDs sitting next to your discman, or would you rather have an MP3 player with all your music on it?

Music was the first to go digital, tv shows and movies next, now video games are primed to go digital next. I know it is sad, but at least so long as you have your digital account, you will own those games in your purchased list.

I just hope it isn't implemented before 99% of the civilized world has broadband Internet with 1TB or unlimited download plans. Until then, discs should always be an option that coexists with digital distribution.


Last edited by Dancemachine55 on 9/10/2011 9:41:52 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Dancemachine,

Cloud based gaming – the darling of the anti-BluRay Microsoft camp introduces two single points of failure, the network and the cloud. If the cloud goes down, you lose the games; if the network goes down you lose the games. That is the nature of depending on the cloud for your games. It's not just about digital distribution it's about always on streamed content similar to on-live. No network, no games.

I hate the idea.

H8WL3R
H8WL3R
9 years ago

I thought, however, that there are some downloadable PSN games that require an internet connection and having to be signed in to the PSN while being played (yes of course for multiplayer, however, including the single player portion as well).

I think one such example being Bionic Commando Rearmed 2. A quote taken from Wikipedia states "IGN goes on to warn potential buyers of Rearmed 2 for the PlayStation 3, referencing the requirement that players must sign in to the PlayStation Network before starting the game." So there's at least one game right there that requires the internet AND being signed in to the PSN, unless I'm mistaken. Has that been altered at all yet? I don't know if there are more examples and if someone else has already pointed to this, sorry.

I'm with most of you as well, as in I prefer having a physical copy of the disc, personally most notable to me because of a better sense of security, portability and having a tangible, visible collection. To elaborate on security I'm speaking in terms of not needing to be online and/or signed in to use a game for which it was bought to use lawfully (and naturally at any given time, for single player especially), as well as it not vanishing, having been corrupted or being hijacked and/or stolen by someone else through the internet.

I do like that the option exists however for the parties involved in making/publishing/whatever-ing as well as for the costumers who wish to obtain their desired media (preferably legally) through digital distribution. Those who do not desire or feel any need for casing with included cover art, manuals and physical disc I think have their place as well, so as to lower the overall physical production and the probable land fill a portion of the games end up occupying eventually. Environmentally and economically I think this is partially a good thing, but please I ask the people in charge of the manufacturing and publishing divisions to not take away the choice of physical media and as a thought, of possibly using better means, more recycled materials or alternate materials (maybe for a portion of the product release) without hopefully changing too much of the look and feel. Just my respectful two cents.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

It WILL happen eventually, but the market will decide when I think. We had the tech to get rid of newspapers in place for years before it actually started to happen. It has taken a while for people to warm up to netflix as well, and even that cuts out all the time so there are internet connectivity issues that haven't been resolved enough yet.

I think there will be an all-download service available before we are all playing games from the cloud.

Whichever way it goes I don't like it either, I want to own things, not "have access" to them.

oONewcloudOo
oONewcloudOo
9 years ago

lol THQ aways the last, dev's have been saying this for years

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
9 years ago

i absolutely hate the thought of this happening. i'm old school. i love having my shelf full of my games even ones i don't play anymore just as a reminder of past gaming experiences i've had. plus something thats always worried me about this is what if theres was ever some sort of problem with your system (or the network) & all your stuff got deleted. or you couldn't access it ? you never need to worry about that with a disc!

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

How does removing a commodity optical drive from the system save significant amounts of money in the hardware. because everything is downloaded, we'll either pay through the nose for a big fat data pipe, or have a monster HDD or SSD in the system which will *increase* costs. Having seen the utter chaos that occurred with the PSN outage, I firmly believe that going to an entirely cloud or digital solution is a terrible mistake. Physical discs and local storage are important because they make the device able to function in the event of a network failure. Mr Farrell needs to stop sitting so close to Microsoft's folks, their cloud computing wacky weed is clearly affecting him.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

It just saves money for developers and publishers since they don't have to stamp discs and ship plastic. That stuff costs a lot, but like you say that savings won't get passed on to gamers for other reasons.

Fox hounder
Fox hounder
9 years ago

@TheHighlander. It saves them money, and that's all they care about. Most of these third party publishers have their own best interest in mind, not ours.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Well, on the one hand, not printing discs, might save them money, like perhaps a dollar per unit, with another dollar on packaging, and another on distribution. The real money is in the retail distribution and retail sales chain, that's where the majority of the revenue get's lost.

All that aside, any publishers that ignore the impact of the PSN hack and subsequent outage are ignoring the 'elephant in the room' at their peril. One major outage and all this cloud computing, cloud gaming malarkey is just electrons in the wind.

sirbob6
sirbob6
9 years ago

I like to be able to touch the things I own.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

World, Yes

And nowhere did THQ CEO Brian Farrell say that either!

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

Digital option? Yah.

Digital only? No.

I don't think it will happen anytime remotely soon. Game makers want it so they say it. Doesn't make it a reality.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

It's why I love the PS Vita so much. All their games will have a physical and digital distribution option to purchase, so it's there to please all parties!!

Here's an idea!!! Why not include a code with new physical games that unlocks digital acess to it, like with Steam! That way, should you lose the physical copy, the digital backup us always there should you need it. Preowned games don't get this digital code. Best way to fight preowned for publishers since it doesn't lock people out of any content, but still holds back on a major bonus of buying brand new. 🙂

Come on Sony, make it happen!!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

THQ needs to focus on trying to compete with EA and Activision. They are sinking man.

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

Also still collectin the classics for the future just in case. =P

Eld
Eld
9 years ago

Cloud is like nuclear reactor. Works fine until one day something bad happens and then you regret you ever built the damn thing.

I don't think cloud is going to take over as easily as people think. CEOs who don't know difference between bit and a bat are just crunching numbers but in reality there are major obstacles.

Now, downloadable will happen, but not for a while.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

"downloadable will happen" -> It's already happening, dude. 🙂

Eld
Eld
9 years ago

I meant downloadable only or at least when majority of games comes with major incentives to download them.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I'm on both sides of it all. I like the convenience of digital. I just don't like the DRM stuff(especially if a game requires an online connection to even play) and having to provide all of the disc space with your HDD sucks, too. I suppose once cloud gets rolling, the HDD issue will sort of go away.
While I kind of like having a shelf of games, sort of, like to look at them in my cabinet and think… oooh, games, mine. Mine until I die and they all get thrown out or given to someone who is like "what the heck is Ninja Gaiden and what the heck was a X.B.O.X" hehe, I try not to be too materialistic. Having stuff is cool, but it's all temporary in the end, even if you think it's yours 😉
Anyway, I've been more of a space conscientious guy, so I like the idea of eliminating hard media for the sake of saving space.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

getting all Zen on us?

Eld
Eld
9 years ago

On open system like PC I would be more accepting of going digital, but on locked down system like console I would rather keep my discs.

Russell Burrows
Russell Burrows
9 years ago

Sigh not this crap! again!
Ps1 days some day we will be able to download an entire! Game CD! thereby obsoleteing the discs??
HA!!!

PS2 days some day we will be able to download an entire! Game DVD! thereby obsoleteing the discs??
HA!!!

PS3 days some day we will be able to download an entire! Game Blu Ray! thereby obsoleteing the discs??
HA!!!

PS4 days some day we will be able to download an entire! Game BD200! thereby obsoleteing the discs??
HA!!!

Same dumb predictions every five or so years………..CEO idiots!!

xnonsuchx
xnonsuchx
9 years ago

Tired of hearing this! Until 95-98% of everyone around the modern world has multi-Mbps+ broadband as standard, digital-only content distribution is going to leave hundreds of millions of potential customers out in the cold…and I don't think most companies want to give up those potential sales. As others have said, optional digital copies = good; ONLY digital copies = f-off, d-bags!

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Can you imagine the glee on the faces of the black hat organizations when they see a company go all digital with a platform? They'll take the network/cloud down, and hold it hostage demanding money to release it.

xnonsuchx
xnonsuchx
9 years ago

I know we've had some differences of opinion when it came to hacking (I ONLY ever supported hacks that didn't allow illegal copying), but you're always the most spot-on technically and realistically here that I've seen…and I wish I could divulge some of the NDA stuff I've come across over the past several years, but yeah, hackers love of f'ing up networks/etc. doesn't bode well for online digital-only options.

___________
___________
9 years ago

mhmmmmmmm.
and who is going to cough up the hundreds of millions of dollars required to replace the copper lines with fibre optics?
will you be sacrificing the rolls royce for us mr farrell?
yea….. thats what i thought!

Eld
Eld
9 years ago

More like billions.

AshT
AshT
9 years ago

physical media will go but only after maybe 10 years

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I can't possibly think they mean that the entire games should be stored in central servers like some of you suggest, with multiple gigabytes of data transferred whenever you want to play a game. That's so far into the future that we can count it in generations, not years – that's way, waaaay into the future.

But people, you are aware that a *lot* of your data today are already stored in a centralized, cloudy way and that you possibly are quite happy with that.

– Your emails are stored at hotmail/employer/isp
– Your contacts on your phone may be synchronized with your Facebook and/or gmail contacts
– Your calendar/appointments data might be synced with Google Calendar/employer server
– Your Spotify playlists
– Your psn trophies
– Your bookmarks (Ubuntu free cloud service, yay!)

The list really goes on and on.

But the games will be fully functional also if PSN is down, just like psn games were working when psn was down now.
At least, that's my prediction. 🙂


Last edited by Beamboom on 9/10/2011 5:33:55 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Yes, and when my phone network goes down I am ticked. I use VOIP at home, so when the ISP is messed up, I have no phone, and no net, and get ticked, if my email at Hotmail or Gmail is unavailable, I get ticked, if my email at work is out of commission, business stops – and I get ticked. You're not winning the argument with these examples because these are all examples of single point of failure that cause problems when (not if) they fail. Oh, and I have experienced every one of these failures at least once in the last two years.